Project Management | Warehouse Engineers

Project Management

Project Management is simple or complex as an organization requires.  In certain industries like Aerospace and Construction, projects need a governing body with oversight and a six-sigma quality level.  In warehousing, not so much. Warehousing Projects can be as simple as installing new dock plates or fans, to more complex undertakings such as constructing a breezeway or selecting a warehouse management system.  The key to successful project management is visibility to everyone involved.  Owners, Employees, Contractors and Vendors all need to be aware of a project’s deliverable, budget and deadline.  Warehouse Engineers has over ten years of experiencing in managing warehouse projects such as: Racking, Lighting, Dock Doors, Fans, Warehouse Management Systems, Construction, Palletizers, AR/AS, Design, Automated Guided Vehicles, Barcoding, 5S, Material Handling, and Safety Audits.

How do you define and track projects?

Sticky notes and water cooler conversations do work.  I know with small businesses project management can be informal because everyone is under the same roof. If you have a question, you can go ask the person responsible.  But there is a better way to manage projects, and it starts with a simple project charter.   A project charter acts as a starting point or guide for new initiatives.  Think of a project charter as notes and list of supplies for a home improvement project.  Here’s a link to a project charter template that Warehouse Engineers uses to cover the basics.   In any project you want to establish the deliverable, timeline, and budget. These three factors are the triple constraint.  One factor will always impact the others, and quality and risk should also be considered when planning a project too.

Do projects tend to run on forever and go over budget?

I’ve been asked “where are we at with that?” by my managers before. Only not to have an answer, scramble through my notes, and respond “I’ll have an update by tomorrow.”  Projects tend to be the last priority because customers need to be served and bills must be paid. A formal project management program provides visibility to efforts and investments, as well as scheduled decision making. Yes, decision can be scheduled and standardized.  I’ll never forget I had an executive once tell me, he doesn’t attend discussion meetings, only decision meetings.  In the decisions meetings he would want to know X, Y and Z so he could promptly make a decision.  A meeting like this is called a Stage gate, Tollgate or Go/No Go Meetings, and with Warehouse Engineers we can call them whatever you want. However, it’s important to decide in the beginning when a decision will be made on moving forward with projects.

How does Warehouse Engineers manage projects?

Good question – and it’s easier than you think.  On-site and Remote Project Management services are available. It at starts with a project charter. If you need assistance with writing a project charter, call me, for free. Seriously – it will take 30 minutes to put together the charter.   Next is developing a plan that involves actions and a timeline.  A Gantt Chart is one of my favorite tools, and I like to add the “Go/No Go Meetings” up front, this eliminates any surprises and helps procrastinators. Once the project is planned, it’s time to execute.   As the project manager, I follow up with all stakeholders on a weekly basis to monitor progress.  At the end of the week, I send a status e-mail to all stakeholders to show movement and potential issues.  

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